These are the cars Audi plans to launch in South Africa in 2020
Johannesburg - Fans of the four rings can rejoice. Despite Covid-19's impact on the country and the ongoing lockdown that has crippled the economy, Audi South Africa is hard at work with its future plans, which will bring some excitement back in the form of cool new cars and technologies.
If you're in a position to shop for a premium car in the coming months, you might want to wait to take these vehicles for a test drive...
Five Audi models confirmed for South Africa for 2020
According to Audi SA's Head of Sales Asif Hoosen, South Africans can look forward to a range of refreshed and new models from Ingolstadt, which will enter the local market during the latter part of this year, between September and December. These models include:
Expanded Audi Q3 SUV range with 2.0 TFSI engine
All-new Audi Q3 Sportback (pictured below)
Enhanced Audi A4 range
Latest Audi A5 range (Sportback, Cabriolet and Coupé)
Facelifted Audi Q7 range
Tough times never last
While the world heaves from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, premium automakers such as Audi find themselves in a challenging (but not unfamiliar) position.
New models need to roll off production lines and into peoples' garages to keep car companies' cash registers ticking, but consumer appetite (and their actual finances) for a premium vehicle might not be there. This happened post-GFC in 2010, where sales in the premium segment plummeted as people put a pause on buying upmarket vehicles.
Hoosen says that, as is the case with all other automotive brands, Audi South Africa is operating in unique and unprecedented times. This doesn't mean, however, that the brand hasn't strategised around a change in vehicle shopping trends.
"Prior to the Covid-19 situation and over the past few years, we have closely followed the development of a 'buying-down' pattern and a change in body-style preference in the local premium vehicle market. This is why we've made the changes needed to offer similar body styles lower down in the Audi range to cater for downsizing as well as a shift into SUV vehicles for consumers with more practical considerations. We feel this puts us in a stronger position to meet the needs of South Africans who still want a premium motoring experience, but at a more cost-effective price point," he explains.
Given the financial pressures and uncertainty experienced by SA consumers, Hoosen says these downsizing trends are set to continue.
"Of course, the reduction in the prime lending rate by 200 basis points (with another rate cut impending), will assist to offset any pricing pressures in the market to support demand but disposable income will remain constrained. From an Audi perspective, we have amended our planning and geared our business to capitalise on the prevailing market trends."
Lots of choice for premium customers
While they won't be the cheapest cars launched in South Africa in 2020, Audi says that its new Q3 Sportback and the A4 sedan facelift comes at exactly the right time for the market. "It is a beautifully designed, compact sports SUV which will no doubt disrupt the status quo. The facelifted Audi A4 Sedan will also create further opportunity for us in the sedan segment thanks to its all-round capability," Hoosen says.
He expounds that all the new and refreshed models coming to South Africa this year will feature Audi Connect – Audi’s introduction to vehicle connectivity.
Audi Connect allows remote functionality, for instance, remote heating and cooling and setting of destinations through integrated Audi Navigation, which immediately syncs with your car. Once in the car, online infotainment, real-time traffic updates, online dealer service requests and intuitive voice commands are some of the features that Audi customers will be able to experience. "Couple that with our Audi driver assistance systems, such as traffic-jam assist, we are taking more steps towards autonomous driving with embedded SIM cards and a fully integrated, connected car. The experience is immersive! It’s definitely something worth getting excited about," Hoosen exclaims.
"We must not forget that the new Audi A1 and Q3 (launched in September last year) are still relatively new to the market too and remains an attractive offering to consumers in the premium automotive space," Hoosen concludes.
"Despite the difficult state of the economy and the impact that it has had on consumer sentiment, we will continue to focus on refreshing our product portfolio with the best that Audi has to offer."
Follow IOL MOTORING for pricing and local specifications, which will be announced closer to the time of each model's introduction later this year.
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